The capital of Meghalaya was gripped by violence since May 29 following an altercation between Sikh residents in the city's Punjabi Lane area, and Khasi drivers of state-run buses.
Since clashes erupted following an altercation between a Khasi bus driver and a woman from the Punjabi Lane on May 30, the locality next to Shillong’s commercial hub and its largest traditional market place of Iewduh, or Bara Bazaar, has been under almost continuous curfew.
On Wednesday, the curfew in the 14 areas will be relaxed for five hours — from 7 am to 12 noon — an official press note said.
The CM announced the formation of a seven-member high-level committee headed by Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong, which will work towards finding a permanent solution to the long-pending issue of relocation of the settlers in Punjabi Lane.
The panel has decided to send its member Manjit Singh Rai from Punjab to Shillong to assess the situation, said NCM chairperson Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi.
Shillong has been on the edge since Thursday following a clash triggered by an altercation between a Khasi boy and a Sikh woman in a Punjabi settlement with around 350 households in Them Iew Mawlong.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma told reporters that “certain people” were funding the unrest in the city and added that evidence of alcohol and money being supplied to protesters had been found.
While internet and SMS services continued to remain suspended for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday, curfew, however, was relaxed in the 14 localities under Lumdiengjri police station and Cantonment Beat House.
Shillong violence: The tension between the two communities stems from a long-standing demand from sections of the Khasi society to evict "illegal settlers" from the area.
Shillong clashes: Khasi outfits call for eviction of ‘trouble makers, illegal settlers’, residents of ‘Punjabi Lane’ say we belong here.
Several groups including the Khasi Students Union, the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People and the Hynniewtrep Youth Council demanded that those involved in the assault of local boys be punished.
Congress now has 21 MLAs in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. Ruling National People's Party (NPP), which is currently leading the coalition government in the state with the support of regional parties and BJP, has 20 MLAs.
A blow to freedom of press in Meghalaya as a bomb goes off under the bedroom window of Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim
Meghalaya urban affairs minister Hamlet Dohling pointed out that implementing developmental projects in hilly areas is not easy as compared to plain areas.
The SP said both the vehicles were seized and investigation is on to find out if the minister’s son was in an inebriated condition when he was driving the car.
Sangma has been in custody since 30 July 2012 and moved the top court claiming that the police allegedly continued to implicate him in different cases and that proper documents were not produced during the arrests.
Conrad Sangma said, "I don't want to be seen as a person who is forcing people but I think it is important that we as leaders lead by example."
"The government of Meghalaya is committed to its goal of ensuring that the state is free of militants and criminals," Sangma said after eight GNLA cadres surrendered before him at the police headquarters on Monday.
"The cabinet had sent the list of portfolios to Raj Bhavan and Governor Ganga Prasad approved it," the senior official told PTI.
Conrad, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker and Union minister late P A Sangma, is currently a Lok Sabha member from Tura, and is heading a 12-member Cabinet.
The National People’s Party-led five-party coalition has been named the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA).
"I am a little emotional. It was a dream of his late father Purno A Sangma to see his son rise to this level. God is kind," she told PTI.
The ceremony was attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP chief Amit Shah. Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli were also present.
National People's Party (NPP) chief Conrad Sangma took the oath as chief minister of Meghalaya today along with 11 party leaders. The ceremony was attended by BJP national president Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
BJP president Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh are set to attend the oath-taking ceremony. NPP leaders said Conrad and 11 ministers will be sworn in today.